Dallas Cowboys (13-4)
Last season resulted in a second straight 12-5 season for the Dallas Cowboys and a second straight playoff exit at the hands of the 49ers. The team played lights out at the end of the season seeing Dak Prescott and the offense top the charts in most stats while the defense continued to play like one of the best in the league. There were still holes in this deep Cowboys roster but, for what feels like the first time in years, Jerry Jones addressed them in free agency. They fixed a secondary that needed a star by adding Stephon Gilmore and excelled their wide receiver room by trading for Brandin Cooks.
They also filled a big hole in the interior defensive line by adding Mazi Smith in the draft. Overall the Cowboys just needed to improve their team to win more games. On top of roster improvement, the NFC East shakes up every season. There hasn’t been a back to back champion since 2004 and I don’t see it happening now. The Cowboys are built to win now. They shed off Kellen Moore and changed their offensive scheme which will allow Prescott to flourish more in the passing game. Dallas is a tough team already and blows that the Eagles have taken will hold them back allowing the Cowboys to walk away with the division title.
Division winners Dolphins, Panthers and Lions highlight Colin's 2023 NFL predictions | THE HERDDivision winners Dolphins, Panthers and Lions highlight Colin's 2023 NFL predictions | THE HERDPauseNext video0:06 / 6:37Full-screen
Philadelphia Eagles (12-5)
The reigning NFC champions are coming into the new season with some new guys expected to be stars. Draft week was a great time to be an Eagles fan as we watched Howie Roseman manage to have the best draft of the year. Philly was able to steal Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in the same night to add to their already scary defense. However, those weren’t the only Georgia boys they walked away with. They were able to land Kelee Ringo on day three and trade for D’Andre Swift from the Detroit Lions. The Eagles are consistently making moves to make this team better and should look to compete in the NFC again this season.
However they did take some tough blows. They downgraded from Miles Sanders to D’Andre Swift, lost C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and watched both coordinators leave for head coaching jobs. These hits are hard for the Eagles and could set them back significantly. They had arguably the best defense in football last season and losing their coordinator and Gardner-Johnson could cause setbacks for the team. It is going to be hard for this team to keep up with Dallas and we will see them fail to become back to back division champions.
Washington Commanders (8-9)
The Commanders enter the 2023 season with a new week one starting quarterback for the seventh straight year. Sam Howell will look to rise to the occasion and be that franchise quarterback that Ron Rivera has been searching for ever since becoming Washington’s head coach three seasons ago. Beyond the quarterback position, this roster, on paper, is a playoff caliber team. Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson could be considered one of the most underrated wide receiver duos in the NFL. Brian Robinson impressed after coming back from getting shot in the leg in August. And the defensive line is getting back a fully healthy Chase Young who will be rejoining a line that was top 15 in sacks last season.
The real question mark with this team surrounds the offensive line. In 2022, the Commanders were ranked 28th in yards per rush, a major decrease from prior seasons. During free agency, assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy brought former Kansas City right tackle Andre Wylie and former Giant center Nick Gates. These additions along with rookie center Ricky Stromberg and guard Braedon Daniels will look to improve the offensive line in 2023. Even though Washington spent a good amount of capital on their offensive line, it still could be their kryptonite next season, especially with a young inexperienced quarterback under center.
New York Giants (5-12)
The New York Giants were one of the surprise teams of 2022. Brian Daboll, in his first year as an NFL head coach, took a team many thought would be bottom ten in the league to the playoffs where they even advanced to the second round. One of GM Joe Schoen’s top priorities this offseason was retaining both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. After extending Jones long-term, the franchise tag was placed on Barkley. Over the last few weeks it has become clear that Barkley is currently unhappy with his current contract situation, which could spread into the season. The biggest new acquisition for New York was trading a 2023 3rd round pick to the Raiders for Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller. The former sixth round pick is coming off his worst season since breaking out in 2019.
This is partially due to a rough injury history which includes missing 14 games in the last two seasons. In addition to Waller, the Giants drafted Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt in the 3rd round of the past draft. Besides Waller and Hyatt the Giants didn’t add any impactful weapons for Daniel Jones to throw to. Defensively, the roster looks very similar to 2022; a defense that allowed over 350 yards per game and were ranked 27th in the NFL. Former Maryland cornerback and first round rookie, Deonte Banks, will look to win a starting spot during training camp. With a schedule that consists of playing the 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Bills all in one month, look for the Giants to disappoint many in 2023.